The Rise of the Portuguese Women's Football

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Women’s Football

      I'm a football enthusiast. The excitement of watching a game has been with me forever. It's not just about spectating; playing with friends was a cherished pastime during my childhood. However, I yearned to play more seriously, not just among friends. Fast forward over 20 years, and here I am, a grown woman. Unfortunately, the privilege of playing for a team wasn't an option back then; women's football teams were nearly non-existent. Frustrated by the absence of opportunities to pursue my dream, my enthusiasm for football dwindled, but the connection was never lost. Life rolled on. College happened, followed by a stint in Japan, then back to Portugal. I lived in bustling Lisbon for a while, and for the past four years, I've circled back to my hometown in Northern Portugal. Upon my return, a delightful surprise awaited me - my hometown club, Associacao Desportiva Ovarense, had formed a women's football team. Eagerly, I became a regular at their matches. For the first time in many, many years, I was vibing with football again. But not just regular football, this time, people of my gender were competing at a high level. - EXCITING! And this brings me to the actual subject of this article - The Rise of the Portuguese Women’s Football, let’s see. The growth of Portuguese women's football has been a steady climb, gaining recognition nationally and on the international stage. The Portuguese women's national team has been making significant strides globally, participating in major tournaments like the UEFA Women's Euro and FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers. On the domestic front, leagues have been expanding, with clubs such as SL Benfica Feminino and SC Braga Feminino actively engaging in European competitions. This dual presence, both on the national and international fronts, speaks volumes about the increasing strength and competitiveness of Portuguese women's football. The landscape of women's football in Portugal is experiencing a notable surge in investment and development. Over recent years, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and several major clubs have strategically invested in the sport, achieving noteworthy milestones both on and off the field. A significant emphasis has been placed on player development, with clubs directing efforts towards youth academies and grassroots programs. This commitment to nurturing talent is considered vital for the enduring growth and success of women's football in Portugal. The combination of strategic investments and a focus on talent development paints a promising picture for the future of the sport in the country. The visibility of women's football in Portugal has significantly risen recently. Liga BPI games are now broadcast on prominent TV channels such as Canal 11, Benfica TV, Sporting TV, and others, in addition to being accessible on YouTube. This increased accessibility has played a crucial role in attracting more attention from fans, media, and sponsors to the women's football scene in Portugal. The expanded broadcasting platforms are not only amplifying the reach of the games but also contributing to the growing popularity and support for women's football in the country. The future of women's football in Portugal looks promising, with potential for ongoing growth. However, it's essential to acknowledge that there's still a long journey ahead before reaching its full potential. As an example, despite AFPorto (Associação de Futebol do Porto) recently becoming the Regional Football Association with the highest number of female athletes in Portugal, the notable Portuguese club giant FCPorto (Futebol Clube do Porto) surprisingly still lacks a women's football team. To ensure the continued growth and development of Portuguese women's football, everyone involved in the game must be committed to its advancement. As for my hometown club, it saddens me that it no longer has a women’s football team, this is often the reality of clubs with tighter budgets - but, fingers crossed, I'm hopeful that the ongoing growth of women's football in Portugal will bring back my favorite team.

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